Story by Melanie Votaw, Photos by Melanie Votaw and Villa Le Scale
Villa le Scale
Via Capodimonte 64,
Isle of Capri, Italy
When my hydrofoil arrived at the Isle of Capri from the Amalfi Coast, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. Sure, it’s gorgeous – no question – but it was crowded and loud. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood for that. Luckily, Villa le Scale, the private gated villa where I’d be staying, sent someone to meet me as I got off the ferry. He sent me to the end of the dock, followed with my bags, and put me in a taxi that was a stylish white convertible.
After a few minutes of riding up and up the narrow winding roads to the highest point on the island, I was dropped off at the quiet Piazza Vittoria in Anacapri, where I finally exhaled. Villa Le Scale’s bellman was waiting for me there, and he took my bags on a narrow pedestrian street. I followed, and we arrived less than five minutes later at the Villa’s gate. Phew! This was much better.
There are quite a few marble steps to the Villa, but at the top, owner Signora Anna Maria Coronato’s bulldog greeted me at the entrance to the beautiful white building. Then, I was met by the American manager, Vincent, who brought me a drink and chatted with me for a few minutes before showing me my room.
Villa le Scale is one of the few remaining aristocratic homes on the Isle of Capri – a portion of the building dates back to the 16th century – and it has been in Signora Coronato’s family since 1978. It was her family’s summer home until her husband’s death. At that time, she decided to turn it into a boutique hotel, opening in 2003. Her first guests were singers Beyonce and Jay-Z, who rented the entire Villa for their entourage. Signora Coronato renovated the property again in 2011, reopening in May 2012.
Signora Coronato has been a renowned antiques dealer for years, so she has furnished the Villa with great attention to detail. Filled with beautiful pieces of furniture, statues, art, glassware, and lamps, the interior is much like a museum. She also individually designed each of the seven guestrooms (four rooms and three suites).
I stayed in the Venetian Room, which was decorated in gold and green tones with a palm tree motif. My favorite aspect of the room was my large flower-decked private patio on which I ate my breakfast made to order. It had a desk, minibar, safe, robe and slippers, CD/DVD player, flatscreen television with some channels in English, chandelier, and a custom-built canopy bed with cushioned headboard. I especially liked the archway that led to the bathroom, which included a shower with a Turkish bath. WiFi was complimentary throughout the property.
Villa le Scale’s gardens are particularly impressive and quite expansive for a private home. You can spend quite a bit of time strolling through them and exploring. Statues and fountains are strewn throughout, and the fragrance of the flowers will follow you wherever you go. Adjacent to the building is a small infinity pool lined with flowers and places to lounge.
The Villa frequently caters to small wedding parties (50 people or less). In the garden is a gazebo covered with climbing white jasmine, and this is where weddings are generally held. It is a decidedly romantic setting, although the staff also serves small corporate groups.
Villa le Scale doesn’t generally make dinner for guests, but lunch is made to order. Ask for the Gragnano pasta that is famous on the Amalfi Coast. I had my lunch in the garden, but you can opt to eat by the pool. Bar service is available from noon to midnight, and Signora Coronato maintains a wine cellar on the premises. There is also a fitness room available for guest use.
Right outside the gate of the Villa is a quiet pedestrian lane with a few other hotels and shops. Within minutes, I was back at the main Piazza Vittoria and could easily walk all over Anacapri and find my way back to the Villa.
Anacapri has many shops that sell limoncello, confections and soaps made with lemon, ceramics, handmade leather sandals, perfumes, and linen clothing. I loved strolling through the narrow streets. There were few cars, lots of churches, and plenty of places to sit and rest, often on beautifully designed ceramic benches. In the early evening, children filled the piazzas, and it felt much less tourist-laden.
The Villa is also a nice walk from the historic Villa San Michele, which is now the Axel Munthe Museum. If you keep walking in that direction (opposite the Piazza Vittoria), you’ll find a beautiful overlook with views of Capri down below.
Rates at Villa le Scale range from 325 to 650 Euros depending on the room you choose and the season of your visit. Full concierge services are offered, so you can take advantage of these when planning your visit, as well as your excursions on the island or beyond. This includes arrivals on Capri via boat, car, or helicopter. When I left the Villa, I took a taxi back down to the dock and took the hydrofoil straight to Naples, where I could transfer to the airport and fly to my next destination.
Villa le Scale provided me with a low-key but luxurious visit. There are some properties that become definitive for me in that location, making it hard for me to imagine staying anywhere else when I return. Villa le Scale is one of those. For me, it’s the only place to stay on Capri.
© October 2012 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.